By Zach Smith Holt Journal staff writer
“What better fuel is there than poo?”
Sandra Diorka, director of Public Services for Delhi Charter Township, thinks that using waste with the water dried out of it could greatly reduce the impact of coal and other non-renewable resources.
Diorka says that a sludge dryer would accomplish this. She has worked to have the board approve construction of a sledge dryer at the Delhi Township Wastewater Treatment Plant.
She said, the plant was upgraded in 1998 to hold more water, but was not outfitted with more room for to store waste.
In 2006, the board voted to upgrade the amount of treatment that sludge coming out of the plant received and build the sludge dryer that Diorka requested.
Board members decided to upgrade the sludge because they wanted to sell the waste to farmers as fertilizer.
Paying for this massive project is a whole other story.
Diorka said the township received about $400,000 in grant money from an S2 grant for the engineering of the project. This covers about 90 percent of the engineering cost.
She said the township also got funding through the state fund that covered as much as 50 percent of the total project.
To get this funding, the township must accept the loan soon and have it closed by September.
“In this case,” Diorka said. “When a public entity buys a bond, the citizens have a right of referendum.”
Some citizens got together and gathered more than 2,500 signatures from people saying they want to vote on this issue.
At the Feb. 21 township board meeting, the board will decide when citizens will be able to vote on this issue. There could be an election in May or November, but if the vote is in November the township would lose the funding.
County Clerk Evan Hope said the increase in taxes to the citizens would be $1.20 per month, per residential unit, over the course of 20 years.
Hope said he doesn’t like May elections because historically, there is a lower turnout. The highest turnout in a May election is 9.1 percent for an uncontested school board election last year.
He does have some hope for this issue.
“When there is money on the ballot, there is a higher turnout,” Hope said.
Trustee Derek Bajema says the board should wait and see what funding is available in the future.
He said that there are new bills that will put more money in the pot and possibly increase the amount the S2 grant will offer.
“It’s a possibility to get the project paid for 100 percent in grants,” Bajema said.
He also said the community said something about how they it feels about the project by signing the petition.
“(The Board) knew there was going to be opposition,” Bajema said. “People just want to vote.”